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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, May 4, 2002

Lelie turns heads at minicamp

By John Mossman
Associated Press

Ashley Lelie compared Denver's offense to the University of Hawai'i's.

Associated Press

DENVER — Getting instruction from coaches and pointers from veterans such as Rod Smith, Denver Broncos wide receiver Ashley Lelie began the sometimes-brutal learning curve of an NFL rookie yesterday.

During the first of five practices at the Broncos' May minicamp, Lelie showed some of the speed and receiving skills that made him the Broncos' No. 1 draft pick two weeks ago.

"He was pretty impressive out here today, as a young receiver just coming out," coach Mike Shanahan said. "He showed some good speed, he caught the ball quite well. We were pleased with his effort."

At the two workouts yesterday, the former University of Hawai'i star was trying to come to grips with learning the Broncos' offense.

Lelie appeared comfortable in taking his game to another level, saying, "It's just blocking and catching the football and running the right routes. The hard part for me is learning the offense right now."

Asked if he had seen the playbook, Lelie said, "I've only seen part of it. The part we have is like Day One, and that's already big enough."

Lelie said playing under coach June Jones was a help offensively.

"This offense isn't much different from what we ran at Hawai'i," he said.

Lelie admits he was awed by the talent around him but got over it quickly.

"After you get into practice, you see they're just players too, just regular people out there giving their all."

Lelie rated his first practice as "so-so. I know so little of the offense, so I was a little rusty. I can do a lot better."

With Smith and Ed McCaffrey expected to recover from injuries and reclaim their starting jobs, Lelie realistically is competing for the Broncos' No. 3 receiver position. Shanahan doesn't expect him to make an immediate contribution.

"To come in as a wide receiver, there's some growth involved," Shanahan said. "Ed McCaffrey didn't do much his first year, and it took Rod Smith a long time, and they're proven players now. He's not going to do it in his first year, but he can still contribute to this team."